A second Bitcoin blackmail scam, based on hacked passwords

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There’s a new Bitcoin blackmail scam circulating — this time based on passwords from website breaches. This extortion email is likely to be less effective than the paper letters because it’s full of obvious errors. My post last April about the Bitcoin blackmail letter in my mailbox has become popular. It generates over 300 views … Continued

The digital clutter tax: how taxing marketing impressions would improve everything

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We tax things that are bad for society, like tobacco, alcohol, and gambling. Unfettered, undifferentiated internet advertising and marketing impressions are bad for our souls. Let’s tax them, too. Spam. Clutter. Noise. There is just too much of it. Raise your hand if your inbox is full of stupid, pointless, and undifferentiated offers. Say “aye” … Continued

What do your customers need to know?

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I’m visiting Belgium. In Bruges, we stopped into Jilles Beer and Burgers — look, not every meal can be a gourmet experience — and found this on the last few pages of their little menu booklet. I’m sure the servers, sick of answering “Are there nuts in the Cheesy Nelson?” and a 300 other permutations, … Continued

Content marketing is good for your soul — and your company’s, too

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Content marketing is a way to drive traffic to your site, get leads, and generate business, right? Well, sure. But if that’s all it is, it’s just inside-out advertising. No, I think there’s more to it than that. I’m considering this as I prepare for three upcoming conferences. Starting tomorrow, May 2, I’ll be at … Continued

My Bitcoin blackmail experience started with a well-written letter

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I got a Bitcoin blackmail letter in the mail on Saturday. They did a much better job than those Nigerian prince scams you get by email. Here’s the text of the letter: JOSHUA BERNOFF [my address] Hello Joshua, I’m going to cut to the chase. My name is RedDust~10 and I know about the secret … Continued

KFC answers the question: when are you allowed to be funny in a crisis?

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KFC ran out of chicken in the UK. They had to close their restaurants, and then explain themselves. They decided to poke fun at themselves . . . which is great, so long as nobody gets hurt. KFC suffered a distribution problem, which meant, basically, no chicken. Their first decision — to close the restaurants … Continued

I am your editor and I reject your apology

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When writers send me pieces to edit, they all seem to come with an apology. Your apology is meaningless to me. “I’m sorry this is so long.” “I’m sorry this isn’t better organized.” “I’m sorry this seems to wander around a bit.” I have one client who doesn’t apologize, but submits every piece with a … Continued